Lenten Devotion 03.17.2014

*March 17 – Monday*
*Fasting Item(s):* Computer (except for school) & Video Games
*Today’s Scripture:* Isaiah 40:29-31 “*He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.*” NLT
*Question:* At what age or life stage do we lose that youthful strength?
*Devotion:* If you’ve ever been somewhere public where you see someone else’s children running around and thought to yourself, “If only I had that kind of strength again.” We use any means necessary (coffee, 5 Hour Energy Drink, PEDs, etc.) to augment the fact that we are weak. Just look at Lance Armstrong’s legacy. This man’s battle with cancer as a professional cyclist turned from a story of heroic valor to that of a man who “beat cancer” and had it chronicled with an *asterisk with a footnote of “cheater”. His 7 Tour de France Yellow Jerseys have been stripped from him. His popularity and role model status have been traded in for the lie that he believed (and still does). He even went on record to say, “I viewed this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times.” as Lance told Oprah in a 2013 interview<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/19/lance-armstrong-quotes-oprah-interview_n_2500965.html>. In the interview he said that it wasn’t an issue until he realized his son was defending his father and didn’t even question whether or not his dad was indeed doping to gain an edge on the competition. His son openly trusted him. I think of this situation from many different angels. Where did Lance get the strength to continue in this lie? What was his breaking point and how many times did he come to the brink of “letting the cat out of the bag?” Where did his strength come from to go on record publicly and confess his dishonesty? The follow-up to that leads me to ask, what are we exerting our strength on that is exhausting us? As in many psalms of praise, Isaiah now stresses the goodness of God after describing His majesty (verses 12-26). Such a God is able to deliver and restore His distressed people if they will wait in faith for Him to act. They are to trust in Him and draw strength from Him. I believe Lance was impatient for God to act and therefore took it upon himself to act in the place of God. God healed him. God allowed him to be on a public platform to show God’s goodness and miraculous power in the curing of Lance’s cancer. Millions of people were encouraged by this man’s story; they trusted him. They even wore a Yellow Wristband to show their support. What did it cost him or more importantly, what did it cost others to believe the lie? Nike cut ties with the Livestrong Foundation that raised over $100 million to support cancer survivors over a nine year period. Lance is now spending the rest of his days in court because he is being sued for his dishonest dealings with those who’ve supported the Livestrong Foundation. The story goes on and on and I pray for Lance and his family as well as the others affected. Does our source of strength come from the LORD or does it come from somewhere else? Are we tired or are we soaring high with Jesus in His strength? Weakness isn’t a bad thing either. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “*But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.*” NIV What if Lance Armstrong realized that his weaknesses were actually his strengths? It is very uncommon to hear someone “boasting” about their weaknesses, but that’s what Paul did and that’s what I believe Jesus is calling each of us to do. “*For when I am weak, then I am strong.*” Place your trust and weaknesses in Christ perfect strength starting today and may our hardships, difficulties and hardships glorify our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ.
*Prayer Focus:* Kids and Parents pray for your school leaders, church leaders and co-workers.
 
If you have been following the Lenten Fasting Calendar<http://firstlutherancharlotte.org/lent-2014/>, please consider this additional resource<http://www.itstartsathome.org/familynight/> to spend good family time with each other tonight to share faith lessons about God rather than waisting your time playing Video Games (today’s fasting item).
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